Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lab-on-a-chip could speed up treatment of drug-resistant pneumonia

15.11.2006
The emergency treatment of drug-resistant infections with targeted antibiotics is often delayed by the need to identify bacterial strains by growing them in culture first.

At this week's AVS 53rd International Symposium & Exhibition in San Francisco, Michael Lochhead, a bioengineer at the Denver biotechnology company Accelr8, described a new lab-on-a-chip that can identify single bacterial cells for the most common cases of drug-resistant pneumonia, cutting down the wait from days to hours. The technology could also help in the development of new drugs.

The constant bombardment by antibiotics and disinfectants has bred strains of super-bugs that only respond to very specific drugs. These super-bugs often lurk in hospitals, where patients with weakened immune systems can pick up obstinate, life-threatening infections such as pneumonia. "When you get pneumonia in the hospital, you're much more likely to get a resistant strain," Lochhead said. "It's an emerging public-health disaster."

The most acute cases are admitted into intensive care units, where doctors have just days, if not hours, to save the patients' lives, Lochhead said. But reliably identifying the bacterial strain that's causing the infection traditionally requires growing the bugs in culture first, a procedure that can take two to three days. Meanwhile, doctors often have no other option than to start stopgap treatments with broad-spectrum antibiotics.

... more about:
»Lochhead »antibiotics »bacterial »organism »pneumonia

The Accelr8 technology is a "microfluidic" lab-on-a-chip designed to manipulate and analyze bacteria without growing them first. Samples are first washed out of the patient's lungs with saline solution in a procedure called bronchoalveolar lavage. The organisms are then separated, suspended in a specially designed fluid, and pumped into the chip.

Inside the chip, the bacteria flow into several different compartments -- eight in the current version of the chip -- and are made to stick to a bacteria-friendly surface using an electric current. Antibodies then flow in. The antibodies bind specifically to certain strains of bacteria, and mark them with fluorescent dyes of different colors. The dyes color-code cells from known strains. A microscope monitors the viable cells -- those that are still reproducing -- and the rate at which they duplicate helps to identify their species.

In the next step, different antibiotics are pumped into the chambers. If the cells in a chamber stop reproducing, that indicates that a certain drug is likely to be effective at fighting the infection. The death of the bugs is confirmed by checking with a special dye.

Once the bacteria-carrying fluid is injected into the chip, the entire procedure is automatic-- including the counting of fluorescent-marked cells, which is done by a computer -- and takes less than eight hours.

One of the most difficult steps was to design a surface that would be hospitable to the bacteria but that would at the same time keep the antibodies and antibiotics from sticking to it, Lochhead said. While Accelr8 is working on finding a "universal" material that will allow virtually all pathogenic bacteria to stick to it, the company has so far focused on nine bacterial species that cause most of the cases of drug-resistant pneumonia, including Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Escherichia coli (E. coli). "If we can characterize the nine panel organisms, we'll cover 80 to 90 percent of hospital-acquired pneumonia cases," Lochhead said.

The company also hopes to apply the technology not just to identifying known strains but also to testing the efficacy of new drugs, or of existing drugs on unknown strains. "Even if you don't know the identity of an organism, if you know which drug works, it's still useful," Lochhead says.

Accelr8, a former software company that refashioned itself into a biotechnology company, plans to place development instruments in collaborating clinical laboratories within a year.

Paper: "Microfluidic Devices That Capture Bacteria for Growth and Kill Analysis," Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 9:40am, Room 2001, AVS 53rd International Symposium & Exhibition, San Francisco, CA, abstract at http://www.avssymposium.org/paper.asp?abstractID=199

Davide Castelvecchi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

Further reports about: Lochhead antibiotics bacterial organism pneumonia

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>